So it dawns on me this morning that I haven’t written any posts on one of my favourite countries to travel to … Jordan! In 2008 I did a 2-3 week trip to Turkey and followed it up with an 8 day trip to Jordan. For those interested in the itinerary, I did the Jordan Explorer trip offered by Peregrine Adventures. In a word … AWESOME! I loved everything about Jordan, from the landscape to the history to the wonderful people. One of my favourite sites in Jordan is the magnificent ancient city of Petra. Even if you don’t immediately recognise the name, I’m betting any of you that are film-lovers would have seen it. It features in the final scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Petra, also known as the Rose City because of the colour of the surrounding rock, is seriously old. I’m not even completely sure when it dates from as this whole region is steeped in the earliest of civilisation, we’re talking somewhere around the 6th Century BC (yep, BC!). The city of Petra was the capital city for the ancient Nabataean people and was a popular centre of trade as it lay on multiple caravan routes. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and rightly so, I would recommend it to anyone.
When you arrive at the site it’s not immediately obvious what awaits you. You can’t see anything from the carpark. To enter the city of Petra, you must first walk through The Siq… a long, winding, narrow gorge that weaves it’s way through the rock. The walk is just over a kilometre long and not at all strenuous. As you walk you will notice the faded and eroded remains of figures carved into the rocks and strange cut out troughs. Petra was quite an advanced city, the troughs you see are a water system – to allow fresh water to travel into the city and its inhabitants. As you emerge from The Siq you are met with Petra’s most famous structure … Al Khazneh or “The Treasury” as its also known. The striking thing about Petra’s buildings is that they are carved into the rose coloured rock walls of the city. An incredible achievement, the precision and skill of these ancient people just boggles the mind!
From Al Khazneh you walk further into the city. The rock walls are full of tombs and temples, an amphitheatre, columned walks and mosaic tiles floors. If you are up for the challenge you can climb the 800-plus steps to the magnificent El Deir (The Monastery) … this impressive structure is even larger than Al Khazneh as it is 50 metres wide and 45 metres high! And if your legs are weary after than climb you can always ride a donkey back down. Now, don’t quote me on this, but from memory I seem to recall my guide that day mentioning that something like only 8% of the city of Petra has been excavated. Which is incredible because it’s already huge – we easily spent an entire day there. It is a must see, a beautiful historical site, in a stunning country full of beautiful historical sites and breathtaking landscapes.
This post is part of the A-Z Challenge for April 2016
Click here for a list and links to my other challenge posts!